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Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health care activities at a Uruguayan mastology unit

Dra. Cecilia Castillo
Dra. Natalia Camejo
Dra. Florencia Rodríguez
Dra. Florencia Vitureira
Dr. Gabriel Krygier
Dra. Lucía Delgado
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Purpose: Health emergency due to COVID-19 started in Uruguay on March 13, 2020; our mastology unit tried to ensure adequate oncological care, and protect patients from the virus infection and complications.

Objective: To assess the health care activities in the “peak” of the pandemic during 3 months.

Materials and Methods: we collected data from the electronic health record.

Results: There were a total of 293 medical appointments from 131 patients(221 face-to-face), that decreased by 16.7% compared to the same period in 2019 (352 appointments). The medical appointments were scheduled to evaluate the continuity of systemic treatment or modifications (95 patients; 72.5%), follow-up (17; 12.9%), first-time consultation (12; 9.1%), and assess paraclinical studies (7; 5.3%). The patients were on hormone therapy (81 patients; 74%), chemotherapy (CT) (21; 19%), and anti HER2 therapies (9; 8%). New twenty treatments were initiated. Of the 14 patients that were on adjuvant/neoadjuvant CT, 9 (64.3%) continued with the same regimen with the addition of prophylactic granulocyte-colony-stimulating factors (G-CSF), and 5 (35.7%), who were receiving weekly paclitaxel, continued the treatment with no changes. Of the seven patients that were on palliative CT, 2 (28.5%) continued the treatment with the addition of G-CSF, 3 (42.8%) continued with weekly capecitabine or paclitaxel with no treatment changes, and 2 (28.5%) changed their treatment regimen (a less myelosuppressive regimen was selected for one and due to progression of the disease in the other patient). The ninety patients who were receiving adjuvant, neoadjuvant, or palliative criteria hormone therapy and/or anti-HER2 therapies, continued the treatment with no changes.

Conclusions: The evidence suggests that, although medical appointments decreased by approximately 17%, we could maintain healthcare activities, continued most of the treatments while the most modified was CT with G-CSF to avoid myelosuppression.